Out with the Old, In with the New at Microsoft Virtual Academy

Ed T Figure 2 6 10 2016

Thanks to a recent Born To Learn blog post, I found myself apprised of a raft of recent changes to the content on tap at the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). In a June 2 post titled "MVA: Keeping it real AND current!," Mathew Calder laid out the rationale for constant turnover in MVA's awesome collection of online assets.


"The pace of change is a big challenge for people who work in technology," Calder writes, "and we know you don't have time for out-of-date training material. We've recently gone through and updated a long list of courses from our catalog, retiring the old ones and creating replacements for many of them."


In fact, there's a Course Retirement Schedule page at MVA that documents this stuff in detail. It currently lists no fewer than 117 courses that retired earlier this year on May 18 or May 30. Many of them have been replaced with materials published as recently as this month (June 2016) or as long ago as August 2014.


Some courses, naturally, go away and don't return, or at least get sucked into a limbo of indeterminate duration. Six of the offerings that vanished into the ether on May 30 left behind only online-course-shaped holes accompanied by the terse advisory "No replacement course at this time."


The six unreolaced courses are as follows:


? Preparing for Exam MTA 98-375 HTML5 App Development Fundamentals
? Deep Dive into the Office 365 App Model
? Deep Dive: Integrate Office 365 APIs in Your Web Apps
? Imagine Cup: Building Your Student Startup
? Deep Dive: Integrate Office 365 APIs in Your Mobile Device Apps
? SAP Gateway for Microsoft


As somebody who's written a few books on certification topics, and edited a few hundred more, I'm keenly aware that keeping up and keeping current on training topics, tools, materials, and delivery is a profound and inescapable challenge. I'm glad to see MS is keeping up with its obligation to do likewise with the great collection of free training materials available through MVA.


Though MS doesn't generate revenue directly from these efforts, I'm both pleased and relieved to understand that the company recognizes the need to keep up with new stuff, even in its free training materials.


You can always find out what's new and interesting from MVA by visiting the home page and checking under the "Most Recent" and "Most Popular" headings mid-page.


Ed T Figure 1 6 10 2016


MVA also indicates that you can "find new courses every week." Over the past couple of years, I've had many occasions to observe and confirm this for myself.


Though you can't use MVA content as a complete replacement for study guides and other fee-based training, it is an enormously helpful and informative resource for IT pros. Check it out, and keep your eye on your training dashboard to remain informed about changes or replacements for those courses for which you've signed up, but not yet completed.


If you are already a dedicated MVA disciple, then you almost certainly share my admiration for Microsoft's commitment to this valuable stockpile of free training assets. If you're just now discovering MVA, then a whole new world of IT knowledge awaits. Enjoy!


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at www.edtittel.com, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.